Keith Haring’s Designs For New York Art Shows and Parties – 1980s

The fluidity of Keith Haring's line that ran throughout NYC in the 1980s

The symbols, lines and shapes on these posters, flyers and cards advertising events and parties in 1980s New York are all instantly recognisable as being the work of artist Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990). Collected by the Marc Miller’s brilliant Gallery98, the posters made as the image flowed from mind to hand speak of another time and place.


Keith Haring NYC

Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Keith Haring, 6 Lithographs, Card, 1982

In 1978 Haring moved from Pittsburgh to New York and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts (SVA). In New York, he became friends with artists Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, musicians, performance artists and graffiti writers, who excited him. As Vincent Van Gogh had found inspiration in the energetic lines of Japanese art, Haring was drawn to “the fluidity of line, and the way they handled scale – doing this work on these huge, huge trains. And always the hard-edged black line that tied the drawings together! It was the line I had been obsessed with since childhood!”

In 1980, he began to use white chalk to draw on the matte black paper used to cover unused advertising panels in the city’s subway stations. His quick art was not for the old galleries, but for everyone. By 1985, he’d made hundreds of these public drawings in rhythmic lines, sometimes, creating as many as forty “subway drawings” in one day. Haring saw the subway as a “laboratory” for playing with lines.

Between 1980 and 1989, Haring’s work appeared in many exhibitions. His first solo exhibition in New York.was at the Westbeth Painters Space in 1981. In 1982, his work formed a one-man exhibition at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery.  In April 1986, he opened the Pop Shop in Soho, selling low-cost T-shirts, toys, posters, buttons and magnets bearing his images. We also see a few of the many images he created for charities and hospitals.


Keith Haring NYC

Keith Haring, Poster, Fun Gallery, 1983


Keith Haring NYC

Postcard for Keith Haring at Fun gallery, Offset print on yellow paper 5 ½” x 8 ½”, 1983.

“Keith Haring was already showing regularly at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery by 1983; his exhibition at the Fun Gallery was a gesture of solidarity with the other graffiti artists represented by the low-budget East Village space. The posters were financed by Haring himself, who personally handed them out to the many fans flocking to the gallery.” – Marc Miller


Keith Haring NYC

Keith Haring, Poster, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 1988

Keith Haring NYC

Haring Handout From The Time of His Westbeth Exhibition, 1981

Keith Haring NYC

Postcard for Haring’s exhibition, Into 84 at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery on Mercer street. Photo of model Bill T. Jones by Tseng Kwong Chi, Offset print postcard, 4” x 6”, 1983.

Keith Haring NYC

Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Keith Haring, Fertility Suite Complete Promotional Postcard Set, 1983

Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Keith Haring, Recent Work, Card, 1989

Keith Haring & William S. Burroughs at Charles Lucien Gallery, 1990

Paradise Garage, Keith Haring, Birthday Party for DJ Larry Levan, 1986

Keith Haring, Framed Poster, Leo Castelli & Tony Shafrazi, 1985

The Roxy, “Help the Homeless,” Keith Haring, Lou Reed, Futura 2000, Kenny Scharf, Folded Card, 1985

Palladium, Keith Haring, The Great Peace March Benefit, 3-Fold Pamphlet, 1986

All images © Keith Haring  and the Kith Haring Foundation.

Buy and find more Keith Haring ephemera at Gallery 98.

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